Core of the Yoga Sutras

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B. K. S. I Y E NG A R The Definitive Guide to the Philosophy of Yoga Core of the YOGA SŪTRAS The World’s Most Respected Yoga Teacher HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd iii 19/10/2012 12:33 My mother in 1956 HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd v 19/10/2012 12:33 Dedicated to my father, Bellur Krishnamachar, and particularly to my mother, Seshamma HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd vii 19/10/2012 12:33 ix Invocation v tt- t- “ t tt-· -t:v ·t·t- º-t· t - -tºt t“ tttttt·º - - ¡ ·t tt tt- - t-t t-t-t t- “ tt “ tt--t tt v t t ¸ t ·t tt tt º t t ·t t tt ¡ t tttt ·-- t ttt t t- “ t v yogena cittasya padena vācām malam śarīrasya ca vaidyakena / yo’pākarot tam pravaram munīnām patañjalim prāñjalir ānato’smi ābāhu purusākāram śankha-cakra-asi-dhārinam sahasra-śirasam śvetam pranamāmi patañjalim // Let us bow before the noblest of sages, Patañjali, who presented yoga for the serenity of the mind, grammar for clarity of words and medicine for keeping the body clean. Let us prostrate before Patañjali, an incarnation of Ādiśesa crowned with a thousand heads, whose upper body represents the human form with four hands, holding a conch (śankha) and disc (cakra) in two arms and the sword of knowledge (asi) in the third, and gracing the yoga sādhakas with the fourth. HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd ix 19/10/2012 12:33 xi Invocation of Sage Vyāsa ·t-· --t tt t-- - ·t-t - ·t -·t t· ¡ t t t tttt tt -·t -··tt - - »: t-t·tt ¡ t- t- tt¸ -- ·tt t t: tt-· ·t· --·t ¡ -t ttt: t -t -·t -t- -t“ --·t·t t ·t·t·˜ :v Yas tyaktvā rūpam ādyam prabhavati jagato’nekadhā anugrahāya Praksīna-kleśa-rāśir visama-visadharo’neka-vaktrāh subhogī // Sarva-jñāna-prasūtir bhujaga-parikarah prītaye yasya nityam / Devo’hīsah sa vo’vyāt sita-vimala-tanur yoga-do yoga-yuktah // Let us prostrate before Lord Ādiśesa, who manifested as Patañjali to grace the human race with correct word, work and wisdom. Let us salute Ādiśesa of the myriad serpent heads and mouths carrying noxious poisons who descended as Patañjali, discarding the poisons to eradicate ignorance and vanquish sorrow. Let us pay our obeisance to him, repository of all knowledge, amidst His attendant retinue. Let us pray to the Lord whose primordial form shines with pure and white effulgence, pristine in body, a master of yoga who bestows on us his yaugika light of wisdom in order to enable us to rest in the house of the immortal Universal Self. HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xi 19/10/2012 12:33 xiii Contents Foreword by the Dalai Lama xix Preface by Honourable Shri Murli Manohar Joshi (MP) xxi Acknowledgements xxxi Prologue xxxiii Yoga Pīṭhikā – Introduction 1 I Yoga Paramparā – Yaugika Lineage 11 II Yoga Dharma – The Concept of Yoga 13 III Janma Mṛtyu Cakra – The Wheel of Birth and Death 20 IV Sṛṣṭikartā – Ādi Puruṣa or Īśvara 27 V Sṛṣṭikrama – The Structure of the Universe 32 1. Puruṣa (Ātman) 32 2. Aham-ākāra 33 3. Viśva Caitanya Śakti 33 4. Guṇas 34 5. Prakṛti 37 HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xiii 19/10/2012 12:33 C OR E OF T H E Y OG A S Ū T R A S xiv 6. The Conjunction between Puruṣa and Prakṛti 38 7. Citta (Consciousness) 42 VI Puruṣa – Seer 44 VII Citta Svabhāva – The Natural State of Consciousness 50 1. Ahamkāra (I-maker), a Mirror of the Seer and the Seen 51 2. Buddhi (Wisdom, Intelligence) 53 3. Manas (Mind) 56 4. Kūṭastha Citta (Big ‘I’) 59 5. Pariṇāma Citta (Small ‘i’) 59 6. Citta Nirūpaṇa (Representation or Definition of Citta) 64 VIII Citta Lakṣaṇa – Characteristics of Consciousness 66 1. Citta Bhūmi 68 2. Citta Lakṣaṇa 69 IX Citta Śreṇi – Stages of Consciousness 72 1. Vyutthāna Citta and Nirodha Citta 73 2. Śānta Citta 75 3. Ekāgra Citta 75 4. Chidra Citta 75 5. Nirmāṇa Citta 76 6. Divya Citta (Paripakva Citta) 77 X Kleśa, Vṛtti and Antarāya – Afflictions, Fluctuations and Impediments 78 1. Vṛttis 83 2. Samskāra Vṛtti 86 3. Anukūla and Pratikūla Vṛtti 87 4. Anukūla Vṛtti 87 HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xiv 19/10/2012 12:33 xv C ONT E NT S 5. Pratikūla Vṛtti 93 6. Nava Antarāya – Nine Types of Impediments 94 XI Citta Parivartana through Yoga – Transformation of Citta through Yoga 98 XII Sādhanā Krama – Method of Practice 106 1. Sādhanā Krama 109 2. Sādhanā Kriyā 111 3. Tapas 113 4. Svādhyāya 114 5. Īśvara Praṇidhāna 115 6. Sādhanā Staṃbha (Pillars for Sādhaka and Sādhanā) 120 XIII Adhaḥpatana Rekhā in Sādhanā – The Razor Edge of Yoga 121 1. The Precipice 126 XIV Aṣṭāṅga Yoga Prayoga, Tathā Pariṇāma – The Application of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga and Its Effects 127 1. Śarīra Śarīrī Bhāva 127 2. Kośas of the Body 128 3. Bahiraṅga and Antaraṅga Samyama 134 4. Effects of Samyamas 139 5. Application of Yoga 143 6. Yama 144 7. Effects of Yama 145 8. Niyama 146 9. Effects of Niyama 147 10. Āsana 147 11. How Should an Āsana Be Done? 148 HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xv 19/10/2012 12:33 C OR E OF T H E Y OG A S Ū T R A S xvi 12. Effects of Āsanas 153 13. Differences between Āsana and Dhyāna 155 14. Prāṇāyāma 155 15. Effects of Prāṇāyāma 157 16. Vāyu 160 17. Cakras 162 18. Pratyāhāra 164 19. Effects of Pratyāhāra 166 20. Dhāraṇā 166 21. Definition of Dhāraṇā 167 22. Effects of Dhāraṇā 168 23. Dhyāna 168 24. Effects of Dhyāna 169 25. Antarātman Aspect of Yoga 171 26. Samādhi or Samāpatti 171 27. Effects of Samādhi 172 28. Antaraṅga Samādhi 173 29. Virāma Pratyaya 175 30. Effects of Virāma Pratyaya 175 31. Cautions to Sādhakas on Samādhi 176 32. Samādhi Phala 177 33. Nirbīja Samādhi 177 34. Yogaphala (Effects of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga) 178 35. Prakṛti Puruṣa Jaya 181 a) Bhūta jaya – mastery over the elements 181 b) Tanmātra jaya – mastery over the infrastructural qualities of the elements 182 c) Śarīra jaya – mastery over the body 182 HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xvi 19/10/2012 12:33 xvii d) Indriya jaya – mastery over the organs of action and senses of perception 182 e) Manojaya – mastery over the mind and consciousness 182 f) Realising the seer 183 g) Ātmajaya – sight of the seer 183 XV Samādhi-Kaivalya Bheda – The Difference between Samādhi and Kaivalya 185 Glossary of Saṅskṛta Words 189 Appendix I – Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras 231 Appendix II – Alphabetical Index of the Sūtras 259 Index 269 C ONT E NT S HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xvii 19/10/2012 12:33 HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xix 19/10/2012 12:33 xxi Preface Yoga is the most wonderful gift from India to humankind. It is as much a philosophy as a science, as well as being an art. yoga is the perfect embodiment of Satyam, Shivam and Sundaram. Accord- ing to Hindu tradition, yoga is as old as human civilisation. Vedic Rishis had from the earliest times known yoga and considered it as a supra-human revelation (a puruseya). Pāñcarātra, a Vedic text, says that yoga is a divine subject and is as old as Creation. How- ever, yoga is neither faith nor superstition; it is a subject with a well-defined philosophy, grammar and goal, and epitomises India’s spirituality. Sages in India have always looked to the Vedas for the origin of what we now call as the yogic tradition. The term ‘yoga’ can be found in the Rgveda, but the present-day technical connota- tion of yoga has taken a long journey. As a spiritual discipline, the term ‘yoga’ appeared (probably for the first time) in the Taittīrya Upanishad, which dates from the sixth century BCE. That yoga was practised in India during the Indus Valley Civilisation (3300–1300 BCE) has been established by archaeological findings. Terracotta figurines in yogic āsanas have been found in the excavations from Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. A limestone statuette of a priest from Mohenjo-daro is undoubtedly in a meditative pose (dhyāna). Thus India has known and practised yoga for several millennia. Several Western scholars have attempted to trace the origin of yoga but HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxi 19/10/2012 12:33 C OR E OF T H E Y OG A S Ū T R A S xxii almost all of them have not gone beyond speculation – primarily, because of their lack of knowledge of Vedic Sanskrit; and secondly, because of their poor understanding of the contents, meanings and the wisdom of various Vedic texts. However, scholars like Swami Dayananda Saraswati and Maharshi Aurobindo, and yoga masters like Paramhansa Yogananda have spoken about the deep philo- sophical content of the Vedic literature and the antiquity of the yogic tradition. A closer scrutiny of the Jain and Buddhist litera- ture reveals that even these non-Vedic traditions have strong Vedic roots and accept yoga as a discipline that has been practised from antiquity. From the Rgveda to Ahirbudhnya Samhita and Taittīrya Upani- shad, the concept of yoga has evolved considerably. The Samhita defines yoga as the union between the individual soul and the cosmic or Universal Soul. It is a samyoga yoga, which is predomi- nantly spiritual. This definition is deficient, as it does not take into account other aspects of human personality and contemplates that the jīvātman (the individual soul) should be completely devoted to paramātman (God, the supreme soul). Any serious student inter- ested in exploring the evolution of yoga, from a mere concept in Veda to a fully fledged discipline as propounded by Patañjali, finds that such an exercise is not easy. However, no science or discipline, particularly one like yoga, can achieve perfection in a small span of time. Much research and experimentation must have been under- taken to build its philosophical base and theories, as well as its methodology. As in the process of science, theories are developed and experiments performed, and the results lead to further refine- ment of the theories; so too the ancient sages must have undertaken serious experimentation for refining yoga as a system. It may be recognised that the Vedas themselves do not men- tion specific yoga postures or āsanas and so these postures are not described by Patañjali in the Yoga Sūtras written after a gap of few millennia. The numerous postures prevalent today must have been the result of the innovations of the sages, who probably practised and experimented with a view to redefining and refining the yogic HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxii 19/10/2012 12:33 xxiii P R E F A C E system. The present state of the yogic system is the result of the tapasya of ancient sages over the millennia. Dr B.K.S. Iyengar is himself a shining example of this tapasya. He was initiated to yoga by a great scholar and master in yoga at the young age of 15, and since then, over a period of about eight dec- ades, he has been teaching, practising and unravelling the secrets of yoga. His whole life is of a Sādhaka completely dedicated to yoga, resulting in the transformation of his physical, psychological, intel- lectual and spiritual frame. It is interesting to note that Yogacharya Iyengar was not initially trained in the classical philosophical liter- ature of yoga, but as he has himself said, his keen observation of the deep reflexes gradually resulted in an intuitive understanding of the subject. He explains, ‘in my practice I annointed my body and mind with knowledge, which soaked deep into all the layers of the self, enabling me to be aware of my own presence, and kindling an awareness in my tendons, fibres, muscles, joints, nerves and cells.’ It is easy to comprehend that the flowering of the tree of yoga from the tiny seed in the Rgveda is the result of personal experi- ences repeated and shared by the sages over a long period of his- tory. During his studies of the various commentaries on the Yoga Sūtras and also other related texts, Dr Iyengar found that most of them suffered from contradictions and were influenced by a par- ticular school of philosophy. His own experiences did not conform to what was indicated in those texts. Further, the commentaries did not offer any satisfactory method for practical adaptation. Having realised the limitations of the existing literature on yoga, Dr Iyengar decided to undertake a comparative and critical study of the Yoga Sūtras on the one hand and of the Hathayoga Pradīpikā, Śrīmad Bhagavad Gītā and Upanishads on the other. Not being satisfied only with a theoretical knowledge of yoga, Dr Iyengar went for practical experience as well. In his own words, ‘In my sādhanā, my body, mind, intelligence and awareness became a laboratory for experience. I tried to do a comparative and analytical study of the Sūtras with Hathayoga Pradīpikā, Bhagavad Gītā and Yoga Upanisads. This helped me gradually to grasp the essence of HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxiii 19/10/2012 12:33 C OR E OF T H E Y OG A S Ū T R A S xxiv the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali.’ Light on Yoga was published in 1966 and Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali in 1993, but the relentless researcher in Dr Iyengar did not stop there. Even at the ripe age of 93 years, he continues on his quest for a deeper and fuller under- standing of the Patañjali Yoga Sūtras. In the two decades since the publication of Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, Dr Iyengar in his sādhanā has experienced a total transformation of his being. As a true yogi he experiences his self expanding and merging in vastness. In his own words, ‘Thus in my practice I found myself closely connected to the Yoga Sūtras, and I began to feel their values featuring directly in my sādhanā.’ These experiences led Dr Iyengar towards a better understand- ing of the Yoga Sūtras and also suggested the need to reconsider his earlier work, along with a fresh look on Patañjali’s presentation. This book, Core of the Yoga Sūtras, is based on the yogic experi- ences of the great Sadhaka Yogacharya Dr B. K. S. Iyengar, and it reveals the heart of the sūtras in a new light. It unravels the hidden core aspects of Pātañjala Sūtras and provides a better understand- ing of the discipline of yoga. The importance of this seminal work lies in the fact that it is based on the personal yogic experiences of the author and his understanding of the interconnections between the Yoga Sūtras during the sādhanā, and is expressed by a highly illuminated mind and equally evolved soul. Dr Iyengar emphasises that the yogic sādhanā leads to the trans- formation of a sādhaka from the natural (prakrta) or unrefined state to a refined (samskrta) state. Ordinarily a person remains in a state where he instinctively responds to the forces of nature (prakrti) and is governed by the law of Karma; the yoga sādhanā leads him to act according to the law of Dharma. This transformation does not come from outside forces but by drawing from within what is already present. Just as the real teacher illuminates the mind of a student and makes him feel that knowledge comes not from some- where outside but from within, so also the guru makes a sādhaka realise that he has to learn from within. How this can be achieved needs a very clear understanding of both the philosophy and the HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxiv 19/10/2012 12:33 xxv P R E F A C E practical aspects of yoga. In this work, Dr Iyengar has explained in very lucid and simple language how the Pātañjala Sūtras can promote this learning form within and achieve a state where the sādhaka (self) merges with the Self – where, in other words, the difference between the seer and the seen vanishes. The author has already provided a perfectly logical interpreta- tion of the Yoga Sūtras, which is concise and can be easily compre- hended even by a person not acquainted with the classical texts on yoga and the terse commentaries on the Yoga Sūtras. In this new work the interconnections and linkages in the Yoga Sūtras have been arranged in such a manner that their hidden meanings can be easily comprehended. The author has discovered/experienced these interconnections and linkages during his own yoga sādhanā, and these will motivate a sādhaka to further understand and explore them. In the spirit of a true researcher, Dr Iyengar does not claim this work to be the last word on the interpretation of the Yoga Sūtras but rather hopes that these efforts (anusādhana) to further refine the de-codifying and re-codifying of the Sūtras will continue. Core of the Yoga Sūtras consists of two parts. The first part deals with the translation of the aphorisms based on the author’s per- sonal experiences and the existing commentaries. The second part of the treatise deals with the author’s arrangement of the Sūtras along with a comparison with other texts and the author’s inter- pretation of various concepts that are generally difficult to com- prehend. Dr Iyengar argues that the Yoga Sūtras have four chapters and each represents the four āśramas and four purusārthas (aims of life). The parallels drawn between the four varnas, four āśramas, and four purusārthas and the four chapters (pādas) of the Pātañjala Yoga Sūtras is a unique feature of this treatise. This is perhaps the first ever attempt to establish a correlation between the social struc- ture of yoga and its spiritual framework. It must be recognised that yoga practice has generally been con- sidered to be highly internal, completely unrelated with the exter- nal. This practice, or sādhanā, is an individual effort whereas the varna, āśrama (brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyāsa) HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxv 19/10/2012 12:33 C OR E OF T H E Y OG A S Ū T R A S xxvi and purusārthas (dharma artha, kāma and moksa) are related to societal systems and structures. Dr Iyengar has argued that the jīvātman (individual) can merge in to paramātman through the preparation of the body, mind, intellect and soul as propounded by the Yoga Sūtras, but the process also requires a social structure to facilitate such a journey. However, he also makes it clear that the varnas (brāhmana, ksatriya, vaiśya and śūdra) have faded and only the āśramas and the purusārtha are currently in vogue. In no way is Dr Iyengar arguing for retaining out-of-date social structures. He is only suggesting that a spiritual journey of an indi- vidual is facilitated if there is a favourable social environment for such a course. In other words, a symbiotic relation between a yogic sādhaka and the environment is desirable. The yogi is not alien- ated from society or the material world but rather considers it as a necessary instrument to prepare himself for seeking freedom from bondage. In fact, the body is the supporter of consciousness. The concept of consciousness has baffled most modern scien- tists trained with a reductionist or mechanistic world view. But Dr Iyengar has dealt with this subject with great felicity. Starting from the natural state of consciousness and describing its characteristics and its transformation, the author describes for us the transforma- tion of consciousness through yoga. As a connecting link between the ten organs (indriyas) and the intelligence and consciousness, the mind has to play multiple roles. Dr Iyengar goes on to describe 35 facets of mind, which demonstrate its capabilities to function in different roles. Starting from the biological mind, moving to the temporal mind and finally reaching the stage of the yogic or divine mind, the list also includes confused, wandering, split and atten- tive minds. If mind, the connecting agent between intelligence and consciousness, becomes multiple, the citta (consciousness) also becomes multiple. Dr Iyengar further points out that buddhi manas and vijñāna manas are two extremely delicate means of analysis, which a sādhaka must apply constantly in gauging his evolution and escaping from the pitfalls on the path of the yogic journey. As and when the mind HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxvi 19/10/2012 12:33 xxvii P R E F A C E is controlled and does not waver, and yogic practices cleanse the senses of perception, the mind reaches the state of divine or yogic mind. Then the citta too does not waver and becomes a fit instru- ment to experience the sight of purusa (ātmā-darśana). Dr Iyengar has defined the term Kutastha chitta as absolute consciousness. It is the seer-I (aham-ākāra or ‘I am’) and the term parināma citta, as the state of consciousness that fluctuates due to the wavering of mind, is the ego. In order to have a clear vision of ‘I’, the parināma citta must be disciplined. Dr Iyengar has shown that the process of achieving self-restraint can be understood through the correct performance of prānāyāma. In further discussion of the āsanas, Dr Iyengar explains the true meaning of sthiram sukham āsanam. He argues that the āsanas are performed primarily in a state where the limbs of the body are guided by the citta, but then the sādhaka must make efforts to seek a situation so that the parināma citta aligns with the kūtastha- citta. It is only when such an alignment takes place that the sad- haka experiences a state of sthiram sukham āsanam. There are no impediments, no afflictions, no wavering of the mind, and a com- plete harmony is established between the body, intelligence and consciousness. In this condition there is a uniform flow of intel- ligence all over the body and the parināma citta is unwavering and the mirror is quite clear to reflect the true image of I (purusa). The secrets of the Yoga Sūtras have been clearly unravelled in this trea- tise and one has to recognise that Dr Iyengar has in all probabil- ity attained the state where his consciousness has come close to experiencing the cosmic consciousness, when the true meanings of yoga and the Yoga Sūtras were revealed to him. I most respect- fully salute this great sādhaka-Yogirāj for his brilliant and ground- breaking exposition of an extremely difficult subject. It would be interesting to compare the experiences of Dr Iyen- gar with those of Western thinkers. During the last decade much literature has been published about the Western approach to tran- scendental experience. This tends to categorise yogic experiences as a mystic phenomenon. The authors of Why God Won’t Go Away HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxvii 19/10/2012 12:33 C OR E OF T H E Y OG A S Ū T R A S xxviii have argued that the conclusions of the mystics are clear: God (the ultimate Reality) is by his nature unknowable. He is not an objec- tive fact, or an actual being; he is, in fact, being itself, the absolute, undifferentiated oneness that is the ground of all existence. When we understand this truth, the mystics claim, all religions connect us to this deeper, divine power. If we fail to understand it and we cling to the comforting images of a personal, knowable God – a God who exists entirely apart from the rest of creation as a distinct, individual being – we diminish the ultimate realness of God and reduce his divinity to the stature of the small, ‘deaf idol’. Mystics further claim that the true nature of God can be known only through a direct mystical encounter. Evelyn Underhill writ- ing in The Essentials of Mysticism explains that ‘Mysticism, in its pure form, is the science of ultimates, the science of union with the Absolute and nothing else,’ and that ‘the mystic is the person who attains this union, not the person who talks about it. Not to know about, but to Be, is the mark of the real initiate.’ Dr Beatrice Bruteau argues in the preface to The Mystic Heart, by Wayne Teasdale, that mysticism may provide the world with its last, best hope for a happier future, by allowing us to overcome the greed, mistrust and self-protective fears that have led to so many centuries of suffering and strife: ‘Consider that domination, greed, cruelty, violence, and all our other ills arise from a sense of insuf- ficient and insecure being.’ According to Bruteau, mysticism allows us to transcend these egotistical fears. The awareness of mystical wholeness shows us that we are not so fundamentally alienated from one another and that, in fact, we do have all the being we need to be happy. When the appreciation of this mystical oneness rises to the surface, Bru- teau says, ‘our motives, feelings, and actions turn from withdrawal, suspicion, rejection, hostility, and domination to openness, trust, inclusion, nurturance, and communion.’ ‘This oneness – this freedom from alienation and insecurity – is the sure foundation for a better world,’ she says. ‘It means that we will try to help each other rather than hurt each other.’ This HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxviii 19/10/2012 12:33 xxix P R E F A C E oneness takes us towards a state of unification with those whom we had considered as ‘others’. The transforming power of these unitary states is what makes mysticism our most practical and effective hope for improving human behaviour, she believes. ‘If we could arrange energy from within, if we more often nurtured our companions and promoted their well-being, we would suffer much less. Rearranging energy from within is what mysticism does.’ Generations may pass before human society is ready for such transforming ideas, but it is intrigu- ing to know that if such a time should arrive, the brain will be ready, possessing the machinery it needs to make those ideas real. The question of why we humans have always longed to con- nect with something larger than ourselves, and why consciousness inevitably involves us in a spiritual quest, has been answered by two neurologists, Andrew Newberg and Eugene D’Acuily, in their brilliantly researched treatise Why God Won’t Go Away. And the answer is simple and scientifically precise: the religious impulse is rooted in the biology of the brain. In experiments, they found that intensely focused spiritual contemplation triggers an alteration in the activity of the brain, which leads us to perceive transcendent religious experiences as solid and tangibly real. Their inescapable conclusion is that God is hardwired into the human brain. The authors further argue that if Absolute Unitary Being is real, then God – in all the ways humans have personified him in order to know him – can only be a metaphor. But metaphors are not mean- ingless, they do not point to nothing. What gives the metaphor of God its enduring meaning is the very fact that it is rooted in some- thing that is experienced as unconditionally real. Newberg and D’Acuily conclude their findings by observing: ‘The neurobiological roots of spiritual transcendence show that Absolute Unitary Being is a plausible, even probable possibility. Of all the surprises our theory [the religious impulse is rooted in the biology of the brain] has to offer – that myths are driven by biological compulsion, that rituals are intuitively shaped to HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxix 19/10/2012 12:33 C OR E OF T H E Y OG A S Ū T R A S xxx trigger unitary states, that mystics are, after all, not necessarily crazy, and that all religions are branches of the same spiritual tree – the fact that this ultimate unitary state can be rationally supported intrigues us the most. The realness of Absolute Uni- tary Being is not conclusive proof that a higher God exists but it makes a strong case that there is more to human existence than sheer material existence. Our minds are drawn by the intuition of this deeper reality, this utter sense of oneness, where suffering vanishes and all desires are at peace. As long as our brains are arranged the way they are, as long as our minds are capable of sensing this deeper reality, spirituality will continue to shape the human experience, and God, however we define that majestic, mysterious concept, will not go away.’ Whatever Western scholars says about mysticism and whatever these two neuroscientists have concluded about the present struc- ture of the human mind–body complex and its capability of sens- ing deeper reality and spirituality, Dr Iyengar shows in this book that the ancient Indian sages had understood the same phenom- ena at the very dawn of civilisation. His book establishes beyond doubt that the human mind–body–consciousness complex has been designed to be a fit instrument for experiencing Cosmic con- sciousness and that yoga practised in the prescribed manner is the golden path leading to that stage of ecstatic experience where ego (‘I am this or that’) merges in the absolute that is ‘I am’. At this stage the ego melts down and submerges in the vastness. The book is free from any religious bias and does not require any God as the creator. It has a universal appeal and will stand as a real guide for serious sādhakas of yoga. In fact, it is Patañjali reinvented. Dr Iyengar will be remembered as perhaps the best commentator on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. Murli Manohar Joshi New Delhi 27 September 2011 HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxx 19/10/2012 12:33 xxxi Acknowledgements I wish to express my gratitude to my daughter, Geeta S. Iyengar, and my thanks to Stephanie Quirk, Uma Dhavale, Patxi Lizardi, Faeq Biria and other senior students for their encouragement, support and care in reading the entire manuscript, which was re-written several times to quell their doubts and questions. I am particularly grateful to John Evans for his editorial guidance. HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxxi 19/10/2012 12:33 xxxiii Prologue I offer reverential respects with my body, senses, mind, intelli- gence and conscientiousness to Maharsi Patañjali, Vyāsa-muni, Vācaspati Miśra, Bhoja Rāja, Vijñāna Bhiksu and all other com- mentators on the Yoga Sūtras, as well as the great yoga masters by whose grace I was progressively led from arrogant ignorance towards humbleness and knowledge. Both knowledge and wisdom dawned on me after years of sādhanā with indelible experiences to live in the divine present. I am neither a Sanskrta scholar nor a philosopher. I am purely someone who has been an ardent student of yoga for nearly 80 years, totally involved in the sādhanā, exploring its depth to understand the beauty and majesty of this vast ocean of yaugika knowledge and its wisdom in tracing the core of the being or the spiritual heart – the soul. My long, reverential practice not only burnt away all types of physical and mental impediments, but made me face all obstacles that came in the way of my sādhanā, kindling the flame of yaugika wisdom. I had a great master in yoga, Śrī Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who was highly qualified in all the six darśanas. He initiated me into yoga at the age of 15. Maybe on account of that young age, I never had the privilege of his theoretical tuition or access to his storehouse of knowledge, which was filled to capacity in him. HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxxiii 19/10/2012 12:33 C OR E OF T H E Y OG A S Ū T R A S xxxiv I was bedridden from birth with influenza, followed by malaria, typhoid and tuberculosis, so it was for my health that my brother- in-law, my guru, initiated me into yoga. Though I questioned him many times on the finer aspects of yoga, he avoided or ignored my queries. Perhaps this was because I was schooled in institutions where Sanskrta was not taught to the students, or it may have been that he considered my age a bar for delving deeper into the subject of yoga. Whatever knowledge I gained through his public lectures was the basis on which I built up a career, as my gurujī 1 sent me within two years of beginning training to teach at Dharwar (Kar- nataka) and Pune (Maharashtra), India. This job that was thrust upon me turned out to be a God-given opportunity. I was compelled to commit myself to the subject in my personal life as well as in practice. As I was left to tread this path unsupported, I had to bear the formidable load of practising, teaching and exploring the princi- ples of yoga. I had a big disadvantage due to my impaired phys- ical health and mental growth, both the result of dire poverty. Hence, this was not an easy task; I was a novice both in theory and practice. To gain some knowledge, I had to depend on my own practice as well as a watchful observation of the presentation of āsanas by the students, noticing their actions and reflexes, which were reflected in both their physical set-up and mental make-up. It was impossible for me to get help from scholars in Pune because I did not know a word of the local language, and there was no one acquainted with the subject. The salary I was drawing was just sufficient to meet my basic needs, so I could not afford to buy any books for study. I was also under contract to teach for all hours of the day. Though I had accepted the orders of my guru to go to Dharwar and Pune to teach, yoga also became vital for my survival. Exhausted, I used to practise the āsanas, to be fit the next day to 1 A guru is one who eradicates darkness in his pupils and brings illumination. The guru is addressed as gurujī, acknowledging respect and reverence. HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxxiv 19/10/2012 12:33 xxxv P R OL OG U E continue. It was only after 12 years of practice and teaching that I committed myself to yoga. I began practising with reverence, to study my own body and mind in those rare moments when they were co-operating; usually there was a tug-of-war between them. Despite many restless and negative thoughts, I persisted and pursued my sādhanā, and this began to transform my physical and mental framework, bringing positive thoughts and hopes. I began to observe the deep reflexes of my practices, and penetrate my inner self, which enthused me and brought me further understanding. My practice roused my instinctive reflex actions, which remain sharp even now in spite of my advanced age. They are innate responses to natural tendencies (sahaja-pravrtti or svabhāva- pravrtti). I began correlating and transforming these natural tendencies that occurred in my sādhanā with my own reflexive, intuitive thoughts (svayam prakāśa, or intuitive light), to achieve right and ever-lasting experiential feelings. In Hindu temples, the priests anoint and rub oil upon the idols as part of religious ceremonies. So in my practice I annointed my body and mind with knowledge, which soaked deep into all the layers of the self, enabling me to be aware of my own presence, and kindling an awareness in my tendons, fibres, muscles, joints, nerves and cells. I began to visit the Pune library, which was open to the public, free of charge. When occasion permitted, I sat for hours to study, but the yaugika books in the library were very few. As I did not have any background on the subject, I found it extremely hard to grasp what was written. My education had been poor, and the language expressed in the books was too aca- demic, beyond what my raw, ruffled and restless mind and intel- lect could grasp. Despite all these set-backs, I look back now and feel that this was my good fortune, that I could not learn the Yoga Sūtras in a formal or traditional way. Whenever I referred to the Yoga Sūtras, they appeared to be too terse to understand because they are con- densed, coded and succinct. After years of total involvement and HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxxv 19/10/2012 12:33 C OR E OF T H E Y OG A S Ū T R A S xxxvi absorption in my sādhanā, without reference to the Yoga Sūtras, but with the aid of the Hathayoga Pradīpikā and the chapters of the Bhagavad Gītā where Lord Krishna deals with the practice of yoga, I began to gain some basic knowledge. Then I began to read translated commentaries on the Yoga Sūtras. In the light of the knowledge and experience that I had gained through my own practice (sādhanānubhava), I saw the shortcomings of the authors and the manifold contradictions in their works. This encouraged me to study the Yoga Sūtras carefully on my own along with the classical commentaries, keeping in mind the experiences (bhāvanā) of my own sādhanā. I found that the explanations and commentaries were academic and scholarly and mostly influenced by the respective vedāntika schools of thought of the commentators. Though these commentaries offered me an overall view of the phi- losophy of yoga, their practical applications appeared quite limited. In my sādhanā, my body, mind, intelligence and awareness became a laboratory for experience. I tried to do a comparative and analytical study of the Sūtras with Hathayoga Pradīpikā, Bhagavad Gītā and Yoga Upanisads. This helped me gradually to grasp the essence of the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. Patañjali’s masterpiece must be looked at as a compendium of the entire spiritual and literary heritage of classical India. Though it is not a śruti (revelation) like the vedas and classical music, it conveys the essence and the depth of the sacred scriptures. This masterful composition of the Yoga Sūtras, with its beautiful rhythm, is usu- ally considered as literature, specifically a kāvya (poem), whereas it may easily be considered as a synthesis of all smrti (remembered literature), the itihāsa (Mahābhārata and Śrīmad Rāmāyana), and all major (mahā-) and minor (upa-) purānas. The last śloka of Chapter III of Bhagavad Gītā 1 says that the Self is superior to the intelligence and the ego (the small self). As such, 1 evam buddheh param buddhvā samstabhyātmānam ātmanā / jahi śatrum mahābāho kāmarūpam durāsadam // (B. G., III.43) – Thus knowing him who is beyond intelligence, steadying the (lower) self by the Self, smite, O mighty armed (arjuna), the enemy in the form of desire, so hard to get at! HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxxvi 19/10/2012 12:33 xxxvii P R OL OG U E Krishna advises Arjuna to control the ego and steady the move- ments of the mind by cultivating indifference to lust, anger, greed, infatuation and envy. By the grace of the invisible hands of destiny and by my sādhanā, I was able to gain control over my shortcom- ings in the early stages of my practice, and to keep an open mind that enabled me to learn. I must emphasise that my experience and belief both lead me to suggest that students of yoga must read and study Bhagavad Gītā thoroughly before undertaking the study of Pātañjala Yoga Sūtras. HarperCollins, London, published my book Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali in 1993. Now in the light of my experience and the wisdom I have gained since then, I am attempting a new offer- ing, in which I have considered the hidden links inside the text in order to unveil the core meaning, or heart, that is implied in the sūtras. In accordance with this core meaning, I have re-evaluated, re-arranged, re-composed and re-strung the Yoga Sūtras. My pur- pose is to make yaugika scholars understand the in-depth philoso- phy and interconnection of the sūtras better. I also want to provide an educational tool for students of yoga and Indian philosophy, to help them grasp the meaning of the sūtras and learn how to put them into practice so that they may experience the fruits of yoga faster than I did. This work is based on a meticulous study of the Yoga Upanisads with a close assessment of the sūtras. Though I am a fervent student of yoga, I must admit humbly that any error is solely mine and reflects neither on my guru nor on other exponents of yoga. ‘To err is human.’ Knowledge is infinite and eternal, but the human mind’s thoughts lie in the field of the finite. The infinite is hidden in the finite, and the finite is hidden in the infinite. In my sādhanā I tried to explore finite within the infinite body. This helped me to understand the Yoga Sūtras with clarity. As I men- tioned above, the knowledge I absorbed along with an awareness of the self (jīvātman), gave me the courage to undertake this work. Each day, the moment I begin my sādhanā, my entire being is transformed into a fresh state of mind. My mind extends and HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxxvii 19/10/2012 12:33 C OR E OF T H E Y OG A S Ū T R A S xxxviii expands to the vastness. It is in that inner limitless space that I begin to work, trying various ways and means. Thus in my practice I found myself closely connected to the Yoga Sūtras, and I began to feel their values featuring directly in my sādhanā. These experiences helped me to write my previous book, Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, 1 in which I found interconnections among the sūtras, laying out a detailed synoptic table 2 and a the- matic key to the sūtras. 3 In the first volume of Astadala Yogamālā I made a first attempt to rearrange the sūtras thematically, offering a ready reference. 4 My almost 80 years of uninterrupted practice has formed the basis for me to reconsider my own previous work on the sūtras as well as to re-study Patañjali’s presentation. Almost 20 years after the publication of Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, and 10 years after the first volume of Astadala Yogamālā, my reflections and my practice have led me to present a re-systematised structure of the sūtras. I came to the conclusion that de-codifying and re-arranging the sūtras go hand in hand, and each one helps to better approach the other. As the physical heart is the core of our span of life, so too are the Yoga Sūtras the core from which to trace hrd – the spiritual heart, the seed of consciousness or the seat of the soul – so that each one of us resides in the soul. I am offering this new arrangement of the sūtras because thousands and thousands of people now practise yoga seri- ously and try to delve deeper and deeper into its subtle aspects. I am sure that this presentation will offer new, inexperienced practition- ers a way in and will guide them towards further penetration. I have arranged the sūtras so that the practitioner understands them easily and is thus encouraged to explore further via my reflections. 1 See Light on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, Appendix II: Interconnection of sūtras. 2 Id., Appendix I: A thematic key to the Yoga Sūtras. 3 Id., Yoga in a nutshell. 4 Astadala Yogamālā, vol. 1, pp. 266–282, Allied Publishers, New Delhi, 2008. HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxxviii 19/10/2012 12:33 xxxix P R OL OG U E Patañjali established and fixed the yoga system once and for ever. The book you have in your hands is, therefore, a re-arrange- ment of the sūtras and concepts of Pātañjala Sūtra, and aims to shed a better light on the hidden aspects and untold links present in his text. I am expressing with courage and enthusiasm my innermost experiences through the core of the Yoga Sūtras so that readers may perfect their sādhanā to feel and savour fully the nectar of the essential life force – the Core of the Being, the spiritual heart. This is why I call the Yoga Sūtras the core or heart of the sādhanā. Sage Vyāsa stipulates in his commentary on sūtra I.1, that a dis- tracted consciousness is not fit to reach the zenith of yoga. I will feel that my immense debt towards my invisible guru has been partly repaid if my humble attempt helps each and every student of yoga and seeker of Truth, regardless of their individual physical, intel- lectual, psychological and spiritual make-up, to experience and to walk on a firm and sure ground towards the realisation of the Self. It is a great honour and privilege for me that H.H. Dalai Lama has written a Foreword, and that the Honourable Shri Murli Mano- har Joshi (Member of Parliament, India), has written a Preface for this work. I am also delighted to express my sense of gratitude to HarperCollins in presenting the Core of the Yoga Sūtras, and inspiring both yoga practitioners and the public worldwide. B.K.S. Iyengar Pune 6 March 2012 HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd xxxix 19/10/2012 12:33 1 Yoga Pīṭhikā – Introduction Pātañjala Yoga Sūtra is the most authoritative and oldest available text on the subject of yoga in detail. At the very beginning of the first chapter, the great seer defines yoga as the cessation of waves and movements (vrtti) of consciousness. Interestingly, at the very beginning of the following chapter, he talks about the effects of kriyā yoga on afflictions (kleśas). I have often thought about the parallels between vrttis and kleśas. By a close assessment of vrttis and kleśas, we can easily come to the conclusion that vrttis, or mental fluctuations, are connected to the subtle body (sūksma śarīra or antaranga śarīra). But kleśas are more related to the gross, or external, body (bahiranga śarīra) or the body of action (kārya śarīra), which create a volcanic turbu- lence in sūksma śarīra. The restrained state of consciousness (citta nirodha) makes one experience the tranquil and peaceful state of the citta when there are no vrttis and no kleśas in these two sheaths of the self. Kleśas are somatic, psychic, somatopsychic or psychosomatic, and affect the causal body (kārana śarīra). They affect the causal body – the self – directly (krta), by inducement (kārita) or by abet- ment (anumodita). They make us suffer as they revolve around possessions and belongings (parigraha), reflecting our fear of death (abhiniveśa). This fear of death, or attachment to life, is instinctive and taunts one and all. HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd 1 19/10/2012 12:33 C OR E OF T H E Y OG A S Ū T R A S 2 Kleśas are somatically dormant and the way to eradicate them is tapas or the path of action (karma mārga). Though vrttis exist on the psychological level, they get intermingled with kleśas. These have to be conquered by svādhyāya or jñāna (study of oneself, from the cells to the self and from the self to the cells). One realises the kārana śarīra or the self (jīvātman) only when kleśas and vrttis stop revolving. Stopping the vrttis helps the individual to surrender to God (Īśvara pranidhāna). Thus, the causal, the subtle and the gross bodies are brought under control through tapas, svādhyāya and Īśvara pranidhāna. These three ways constitute the tridanda of yaugika sādhanā. Kleśa nivrtti (the involution of afflictions) develops from tapas. Vrtti nirodha (restraint of modification) develops from svādhyāya, while antahkarana śuddhi (sanctity and purity of the conscience – dharmendriya) develops through Īśvara pranidhāna. The tridanda of yoga sādhanā is meant to understand the inter- connections between body, mind, intelligence and self. Accurate methodical practice results in the disassociation of the self from the body and mind. We have hundreds of muscles and joints along with five organs of action, five senses of perception, five vāyus and five upavāyus, mind, intelligence, I-maker, consciousness, conscience, self with form (sākārātman) and Self without form (nirākārātman). Through the medium of yoga sādhanā, we learn to use these tools, so that they co-ordinate and co-operate, until the mind cultivates both the external organs and internal organs to experience balance, har- mony and concord between the Self and the agents of the Self. This is samānatā of the pure consciousness. The Self is essentially nirākāra. The difference between nirākāra purusa and sākāra purusa is that this nirākāra purusa is indestruct- ible, imperishable and immeasurable. He neither destroys, nor can be destroyed. He is birthless and deathless, without beginning or end. He cannot be wounded by weapons, burned by fire, mois- tened by water or blown away by the wind. He cannot be divided, HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd 2 19/10/2012 12:33 3 Y OG A P Ī Ṭ H I K Ā – I NT R OD U C T I ON burnt, dissolved or dried up. He is beyond ‘I’ or ‘me’ or ‘mine’. He is ‘Thou’ beyond ‘I’, untouched by the power of the elements. When the nirākāra purusa changes into sākāra purusa or the I-ness, he is called jīvātman or the individual self (small self). This sākāra purusa, or jīvātman, comes under the influence of viśva- caitanya-śakti or prāna and the powers of the elements. He who is with form is enshrined in the human body and renders the capacity of motion and sensation – jīva means influence of life force, and ātman means the self. Hence jīvātman is the self that has connec- tion with pañca bhūtas and pañca prānas. According to the aupanisadika terminology, the Self remains as a kūtastha citta. When the same nirākāra Self takes the sākāra form as I-ness, it determines the activities of parināma citta. The practice of yoga develops four types of samādhi: these are self-analysis, synthesis, bliss, and the experience of a Pure Being. Vitarka and vicāra are the expressions of the self, parināma citta. Ānanda nullifies the formful state of the Self and asmitā is kūtastha citta, which is beyond the influence of kārana, sūksma and kārya śarīra. Kūtastha citta, or the formless self, when the same nirākāra self takes the form as ‘I-ness’, as sākāra citta he determines the activities of life as parināma citta. Through cultivation of friendliness, compassion, joy, and indifference to pleasure and pain, virtue and vice, consciousness becomes favourably disposed, serene and benevolent. Maitrī and karunā represent parināma citta. Muditā nullifies and transforms the parināma citta and upeksā makes the parināma citta indifferent so that this parināma citta becomes kūtastha citta and experiences the pure state of Being. vitarka-vicāra- ānanda-asmitārūpa -anugamāt sampra- jñātah (I.17) maitrī-karunā- -muditā-upēksānām sukha-duhkha- -punya-apunya- -visayānām bhāva-nātah-citta- -pra sādanam (I.33) HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd 3 19/10/2012 12:33 C OR E OF T H E Y OG A S Ū T R A S 4 I found that the four chapters (pādas) of the Yoga Sūtras have their own parallels in the structure of the four varnas, four āśramas and four aims of life (purusārthas). Nowadays the varnas (brāhmana, ksatriya, vaiśya, śūdra) have faded, but āśramas and aims of life are still in vogue. Here I have to stress that consciousness is an evolution of the varnas and that the varnas must be considered as a hierarchy of consciousness, representing its four levels. The fourfold order was created by me according to the divisions of quality and work. Though I am its creator, know me to be incapable of action or change. Lord Krishna explains that the creation of classes reflects the quality of ones’s work (guna karma). I feel Patañjali deals in the same way with four classes of consciousness in practitioners according to their interest in life as well as the sādhanā. He explains guna karma citta (quality of actions according to consciousness) as kleśa citta karma, manovrtti citta karma, nirodha citta karma and divya citta karma. Kleśa citta karma exists mainly in somatic afflictions that affect the psyche of the person. On the kleśas and the tolerance to bear the afflictions, Patañjali suggests gaining control by tatra sthitau yatnah abhyāsah (I.13) – practice. This practice is laborious, hence it can be attributed to the śūdra or labour class. This leads to stability in body and mind and helps in gaining control of manovrtti citta. Besides acting on kleśas, it may tempt one to seek a benefit, which is nothing less than vaiśya – a state of mind seeking to attain wealth. Tatpratisedhārtham ekatattva-abhyāsah (I.32) leads towards the martial qualities (ksatriya class) to remove all defects in one’s Cāturvarnyam mayā srstam gunakarma - vibhāgaśah / Tasya kartāram api mām viddhy akartāram avyayam // (Bhaga- vad Gītā, IV.13) Sa tu dīrghakāla nairantarya satkāra āsevitah drdhabhūmih (I.14) HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd 4 19/10/2012 12:33 5 Y OG A P Ī Ṭ H I K Ā – I NT R OD U C T I ON sādhanā in order to reach a state above one’s peers or colleagues. This state of sādhanā is nothing less than nirodha citta vrtti karmas. The highest and noblest quality of the divya citta karma makes one free from taints, and its practice takes the form of nimittam aprayojakam prakrtīnām varanabhedah tu tatah ksetrikavat (IV.3). The sādhaka practises just for the sake of experiencing the divine state of consciousness (divya citta). In this state he develops the brāhmanika mind to live in the state of purity, experiencing not only the state of cosmic consciousness but also the sight of the Self. Living in the flame of Self ’s light makes him tatah kleśa karma nivrttih (IV.30), when he will not act in any way that creates disturbances or turbulences within himself or among his family, society or community. This is how yoga acts as a means to lift the citta from kleśa citta to divya citta. In one word, if the sūtras I.13–14 1 convey the idea of stable and con- tinuous effort from the third and fourth varna, the sūtra I.32 2 is more related to the single-minded effort of the second varna. An important part of Vibhūti Pāda also deals with the attainments of the second varna, whereas the Kaivalya Pāda reveals the effort required for final emancipa- tion and absolute freedom, pointing us towards vidyāvinayasampanne (being equipped with the humility of True Knowledge): Sages see with an equal eye a learned and humble Brahmin, a cow, an elephant or even a dog or an outcast. 1 tatra sthitau yatnah abhyāsah (I.13) – Practice is an effort to still the mind’s fluctuations in order to silence consciousness. sa tu dīrghakāla-nairantarya-satkāra-āsevitah drdhabhūmih (I.14) – Long, uninterrupted, alert practice is the firm foundation for stabilising consciousness. 2 tatpratisedhārtham ekatattva-abhyāsah (I.32) – Single-minded effort is the only way to overcome the defects in one’s own self. Vidyāvinayasa- mpanne brāhmane gavi hastini / śuni cai’va śvapāke ca panditāh samada- rśinah // (B. G., V.18) HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd 5 19/10/2012 12:33 C OR E OF T H E Y OG A S Ū T R A S 6 The āśramas are brahmacaryāśrama, grhasthāśrama, vānapra- sthāśrama and sannyāsāśrama. According to the Vedas, the human span of life is said to be 100 years, so each āśrama is said to be of 25 years. In brahmacaryāśrama, the youth is made to learn and earn knowledge on both spiritual and worldly planes, and then to use this knowledge in the best way to live. After acquiring material and spiritual wisdom, the youth is allowed to marry to become a householder (grhasthāśrama), to learn humane quali- ties, to serve those who need help and then ensure that his prog- eny are educated. After having children and living as a family man or woman, a person begins to learn to cultivate non-attachment (vānaprasthāśrama), and when non-attachment is transformed into detachment and renunciation he or she loses all attachment to the world and becomes attached only to Īśvara – God. This is sannyāsāśrama. Similarly, the four aims, or purusārthas, of life are dharma, artha, kāma and moksa. The Yoga Sūtras have four chapters, each one representing respectively the four āśramas and the four aims of life. The Samādhi Pāda as the dharma of the purusārthas represents student-hood (brahmacaryāśrama). Dharma means religiousness in sādhanā and indicates a righteous duty. Dharma is what sus- tains and supports a person towards the realisation of the purusa. In this chapter, the study of science and philosophy as well as right discipline in the form of ‘anuśāsanam’ is explained. Anuśāsanam means to think correctly and act from within the frame of yama and niyama, which is explained in Sādhana Pāda. The second chapter (Sādhana Pāda) is on the purpose of life (artha) with the means for living (grhasthāśrama). It explains in detail the ‘how and whys’ of our means and purposes in practice (artha) as the frame within which we should live. It places this understanding and practice within the codes of conduct of yoga. Vibhūti Pāda concerns itself with the gaining of supernatural powers. ‘Power’ means the purusārtha of kāma. One must remain HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd 6 19/10/2012 12:33 7 Y OG A P Ī Ṭ H I K Ā – I NT R OD U C T I ON indifferent to these powers, for they tempt one to fall from spir- itual grace. Hence, non-attachment towards supernatural powers must be practised by a householder, to transcend sensual desire and reach the higher aspects of love. This is vānaprasthāśrama, the third stage of life, and is the preparation for the fourth stage. The last chapter (Kaivalya Pāda) speaks about moksa, the fourth stage of sannyāsāśrama. This guides the sādhaka to detach from the infatuation of powers. Kaivalya means aloneness. In this state, intelligence shines like a full moon. It shows ways to earn free- dom from infatuations (moha) and to reach the final freedom, the moksa. Then the accomplished sādhaka lives in satyam (truth), śivam (eternal) and sundaram (beauty of life). Having drawn parallels between the four purusārthas and the four chapters, I must add that Patañjali conveys also the idea of a zenith in kaivalya in the form of the natural, pure Īśvara pranidhāna. The four pādas also represent respectively four types of action, namely karma, vikarma, sukarma and akarma. Karma stands for general actions or performances. Vikarma means actions with pleasant motivations. Sukarma means good actions with auspicious motivations whereas akarma stands for actions that are totally free from expectations of reactions and rewards. Akarma is the most skilful action performed totally and effortlessly. In the same way, the pādas may stand for jñāna, vijñāna, sujñāna and prajñāna. If jñāna is just knowledge on objects, vijñāna is sci- entific enquiry, sujñāna is the acquisition of auspicious spiritual knowledge and prajñāna is the pinnacle of experiential illumina- tive wisdom. It is also possible that the four chapters relate to the states of sālokya, sāmīpya, sārūpya and sāyujya. Sālokya is a means to feel the kingdom of God through Samādhi Pāda; sāmīpya is the close- ness or proximity to God in sādhanā; sārūpya, assuming God as natural through the wealth (vibhūti) of yoga, which comes as a natural phenomenon; and sāyujya is when one lives in awareness, extending and expanding without a feeling of self, then merging HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd 7 19/10/2012 12:33 C OR E OF T H E Y OG A S Ū T R A S 8 and finally uniting with God. This is the ultimate union of the Self with the divine – Īśvara. Thus the Yoga Sūtras guide the sādhakas through ripe action (paripakva karma), knowledge beyond the boundaries of discrimi- nation (para jñāna) and utter devotion (parā bhakti) towards the completion of total surrender (śaranāgati). My approach may seem excessive, but I felt that someone had to take the initiative. This is an attempt to offer a condensed and compact guide so that readers may grasp the objective views subjectively on vedānta, as pratyaksa pramāna, which is without doubt the direct path for the Sight of the Soul (ātmadarśana), and proceed through a systematic evolution from the first suggested Samādhi Pāda Sādhana Pāda Vibhūti Pāda Kaivalya Pāda Four types of actions Karma: general actions Vikarma: actions with pleasant motivations Sukarma: good actions with auspicious motivations Akarma: actions free from expectations of reactions or rewards Four types of knowledge Jñāna: knowledge of objects Vijñāna: scientific enquiry Sujñāna: acquisition of auspicious spiritual knowledge Prajñāna: pinnacle of experiential illuminative wisdom States of relationship to God Sālokya: feeling God Sāmīpya: closeness or proximity to God Sārūpya: embraces and encompases God once free from the wealth of yoga (super- natural powers) Sāyujya: living in awareness without the feel of the Self and mingling with God Guidance in the nivṛtti mārga Paripakva karma: Ripe action Para jñāna: Knowledge beyond the boundaries of discrimination Parā bhakti: Utter devotion Śaraṇāgati: Culminating in total surrender HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd 8 19/10/2012 12:33 9 choice of sādhanā in ‘Īśvara-pranidhānāt vā’ (Y. S., I.23) towards the untold, full ‘Īśvara-pranidhāna’, which follows naturally and spontaneously as a fifth aim of sādhanā (Īśvaradarśana). This is the fifth purusārtha, the culminating point of the spiritual quest, where the teachings of Lord Patañjali and Śrī Rāmānujācārya meet. Y OG A P Ī Ṭ H I K Ā – I NT R OD U C T I ON HEART OF YOGA SUTRAS FINAL.indd 9 19/10/2012 12:33
Excerpt of Core of the Yoga Sutras by B.K.S. Iyengar.